Dissenting Students Denied FTII Scholarships: Crackdown

The four ‘disqualified’ students are also among the 35 students undergoing trial at a Pune court on charges related to the agitation and gheraoing.

Image: Indian Express

In a clear move to crack down on students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who staged a four-month-long strike to protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the head of the institute, the administration has started refusing scholarships and the opportunity to participate in foreign exchange programmes to those who have “disciplinary matters” pending for their involvement in the protests reports The Indian Express. (http://indianexpress.com/article/education/to-enforce-discipline-no-scholarships-foreign-visit-nod-for-ftii-students-who-participated-in-agitation-4480868/)

As per the file notings obtained by The Indian Express, FTII Director Bhupendra Kainthola has directed the heads of departments (HODs) and Deans to route all files pertaining to scholarships and foreign exchanges through the office of the Proctor, who is in charge of maintaining discipline. Documents obtained by The Indian Express, under the Right to Information Act, from various FTII departments showed that the nomination of eight students, who have “disciplinary matters” pending against them, came under the scanner.

Of these, four students were involved in gheraoing then FTII Director Prashant Pathrabhe in August 2015, at the height of the agitation against Chauhan’s appointment.

The four ‘disqualified’ students are also among the 35 students, including some who have since completed their course in FTII, undergoing trial at a Pune court on charges related to the agitation and gheraoing. Files pertaining to four other students eligible for scholarships showed that FTII had denied release of funds, as three of them were accused of “consuming alcohol and creating disturbance”, while another student was accused of ‘talking disrespectfully to and shouting at the Proctor’. Incidentally, the scholarship of the fourth student was cleared after he submitted a written apology.

However, not everyone fully supported the stance taken by Kainthola. Amit Tyagi, Dean (Films), said on September 22, 2016: “Issues of discipline are minor infringements… and should not prejudice our assessment of students who are basically talented. Hence, scholarships should be awarded to students. However, the final decision is with the director.”

Kainthola told The Indian Express, “It’s true that scholarships have been held back, but only in cases of serious indiscipline or when the inquiry is incomplete. It is equally true that scholarships have been released for students who have apologised in writing and promised good behaviour.”




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